The Cheshire Cat smokes 60 a day (while he’s not on duty)
and some nights, such as tonight,
his skinny smoke-stained smile hangs wryly in the sky,
the sick sliver of over-polished gold burns crescents on my eyes
and, upon closer inspection, I can see that he
has shreds of my old life stuck in the gaps between his nicotine teeth.
I tell him I’ve got a box of toothpicks somewhere,
in the kitchen, I think, I can go have a look, fetch him one–
but he just laughs at my derisory offering and then laughs some more,
spitting his yellow light over the town, spluttering occasionally.
He has the same Smokers Cough that my father has. Had.
I finish my cigarette and tell him that I’m going back inside.
He smiles sarcastically and says “Yeah, same.”
He doesn’t need to tell me that I’ll see him soon – I know I will;
around the same time, around the same place,
watching me from the lofty safety of the night sky,
reclining casually against his brilliant backdrop,
smiling his wry smile, shining his light right onto my misery
and haunting me with his omnipresence long after I’ve looked away

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